This week is book-ended by Maeve’s birthmother’s birthday and Mother’s Day. Like last year, we sent her a little parcel, which includes a birthday gift and card, the usual letter and photo update, and a Mother’s Day card, complete with Maeve’s crayon-ing contribution.
Then, of course, there’s Birthmother’s Day, which is Saturday, May 12. (Not ever printed on any retail calendar I’ve seen. You?) As if B. isn’t already ever-present in my thoughts and in my heart, this week she is especially so, given these occasions.
While I’ve heard mixed thoughts on Birthmothers’ Day itself, pontificating about whether this notion offends or embraces first mothers is something I don’t have the right to do as an adoptive mother. It’s just not my place — I don’t get to decide how birth mothers feel.
What I do get to decide, however, is how I will celebrate and recognize the woman who gave birth to my daughter, to her daughter — to our daughter.
I believe this most emphatically: On Mother’s Day — last year was my first as a celebratee, rather than strictly a celebrator — B. holds just as much place in our family’s celebration of the day as I do. While embracing Birthmother’s Day would be her choice, of course, I don’t need a separate designated day to celebrate her, think of her, want to reach out to her. I’m honored to share The Real Deal with her, actually. Know what I mean?
So, call it doublethink on my part. While I am pleased, in one sense, that Birthmother’s Day is part of an effort to acknowledge the mothers not parenting their children — to shine the light so these women, these mothers, needn’t be forced to lurk in shadows and exist in whispers — I’d be even more pleased to simply celebrate B. on Mother’s Day. And I will. She is, after all, my daughter’s mother.
Of course, there’s also the completely separate argument that folks shouldn’t need a manufactured “Hallmark holiday” to remember those we love and treat them with kindness. Well, of course. Of course.
But these days of honor will continue to be printed in little squares on annual calendars; flowers will continue to be grown, wrapped and delivered cross-country in pastel papers; and card companies will keep rolling out designs and verses for 4 bucks apiece.
Perhaps the day will come some May when grocery, drug and card stores will designate actual space in their card aisles to birth mothers. Perhaps then Birthmother’s Day will truly have arrived. After all, if there are Mother’s Day cards for women who are “Like a Mother” to us, how about also acknowledging the women whose motherhood stems from, oh, I don’t know, biology?
Again, more mamagigi doublethink: While I ask why not have cards in everyday shops where folks see them, read them and buy them that embrace all sorts of mothers — most definitely birthmothers — I also think that’s a matter of semantics, really.
In reality, even if Hallmark, American Greetings or Some Other Big Card Company actually saw the light and produced such all-encompassing card varieties — I’m not sure I’d be buying a “birthmother card” anyway. After all, this year’s card came straight from the mainstream section of paper greetings offering bona fide Mother’s Day wishes, thankyouverymuch.
Yes, bona fide wishes for a bona fide mother on a holiday celebrating mothers.
So, B., no matter how the little box reads in this year’s calendar or future, perhaps more-enlightened calendars, happiness and love to you.
Happiness and love to you always, B.